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DID YOU READ

Critic wrangle: “Trouble the Water.”

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08222008_troublethewater.jpgAnother Sundance film, this one the winner of the Grand Jury Prize, also hits theaters today — Carl Deal and Tia Lessin’s documentary about New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina, “Trouble the Water,” uses footage shot by Lower Ninth Ward resident Kimberly Robert to chronicle the devastation of the storm. And reviews would indicate it does so aptly: Jim Ridley, writing at the Village Voice, calls it “history captured in the visual grammar of Cloverfield,” and adds that “[t]he resilience of the movie’s subjects–survivors of street crime and drugs and HIV–irradiates Trouble the Water like sunshine.” Manohla Dargis at the New York Times finds that the filmmakers “have created an ingeniously fluid narrative structure that, when combined with Ms. Roberts’s visuals, news material and their own original 16-millimeter film footage, ebbs and flows like great drama.”

“In many ways, I think Kim Roberts’ authorship, not just of her amazing storm footage or her music but of her life, is the true subject of ‘Trouble the Water,'” suggests an impassioned Andrew O’Hehir at Salon. “We can have a ‘national conversation about race’ until we all turn blue and keel over from boredom — Did we have it already? If so, what did we say? — but people like Kim and Scott Roberts don’t generally have their own voices, or any other kind of autonomy.” “In one scene,” writes New York‘s David Edelstein, “Kimberly and fellow refugees line up for FEMA assistance at some kind of ranch, where a sign overhead points to Gate B–CATTLE ENTRANCE. You can’t make this stuff up. You can, however, capture it on film for all time. Trouble the Water is ineradicably moving.”

For Nick Schager at Slant, “The directors’ unwavering concentration on their two subjects’ plight simultaneously brings the calamity down to a human scale and, consequently, enhances the depth of the tragedy. It also, however, allows for an artless depiction of sacrifice, compassion, altruism, and hope amid misfortune.” Noel Murray at the Onion AV Club, however, allows that “Trouble The Water is infuriating in its depiction of helpless Americans getting left behind, and uplifting in the way it shows the Roberts putting their lives together, but it’s also frustrating, because it lacks some focus,” while Michael Joshua Rowin at indieWIRE believes that the “thankfully infrequent miscalculations” of newscast clips featuring FEMA director Mike Brown and George W. Bush are balanced by “revealing moments and painfully experienced truths.”

[Photo: “Trouble the Water,” Zeitgeist Films, 2008]

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.